Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Wednesday Cardinal Couple - Softball beats the Redbirds, Boltja honored and 1 or 2?
WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- Duncan's big day leads Cards to 7-3 win
-Nikki Boltja named BIG EAST Lacrosse Player of Week
- #1 or #2? What's your point of view?
We've talked before here at the ol' Cardinal Couple about the long range hitting capabilities of the Louisville Softball team. Of how traffic on Brandeis and Floyd might need to keep a needful eye out when Pearsall's Pulverizers are playing at the Ulmer.
Brittany Duncan led credence to our conversations on Tuesday went she sent two out of the ballpark in Louisville's 7-3 win over Illinois State. Kelsi Jones also said goodbye to Mr. Spalding in the UofL win.
The Cards jumped on the Redbirds early in this one...five runs in the first. With two outs and Katie Keller and Maryssa Becker on base, Duncan sent one over the black chain link fence to make it 3-0 Cards. Maggie Ruckenbrod and Taner Fowler followed with doubles and Hannah Kiyohara added a single to give the Cards a sizeable lead after one.
Illinois State decided to make it interesting...with three runs off starter Rachel LeCoq in the third...but a solo shot from Jones in the fourth (her sixth of the year) and a bomber from Duncan in the fifth added to the winning margin for UofL.
Caralisa Connell finished for LeCoq and provided six strikeouts in 4.1 innings.
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In her four years as a UofL Lacrosse attacker, Nikki Boltja has gained a conference and nationwide reputation as a hard worker and scorer.
The BIG EAST has named her Player of the Week for the second time this season based on her efforts against Ohio State and Notre Dame last week. Tricky Nikki had eight goals and two assists and moved to fourth on the all-time goals scored list at Louisville, her 152 career scores got her past Cardinal favorite Emily Dashiell (2008-11).
She leads the BIG EAST this season in goals per game (4.29) and is second nationally with 30 net-finders this season.
Kaylin Morissette, the Ontario sophomore with radar range as well, was named to the league's weekly honor roll for the third time time season. When it comes to draw controls, Kaylin is superb...with 118 career...which is already third best in school history.
Louisville will stay home this week. A scheduled game against Canisius for today in Buffalo has been cancelled due to expected rough weather. Louisville hosts Drexel Saturday at 1 p.m.
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Now that the Cards only season in the AAC in women's basketball has come to an end, thoughts turn to the NCAA Tournament. Actually, we've been thinking about it for some time...with Louisville hosting a regional in a mere 17 days.
Where will the Cards be seeded? A #1 or #2 appears to be in the offing, according to those who track and pontificate about such things.
Two of the four #1 seeds are locked up with UConn and Notre Dame both undefeated on the season. There is much speculation on who will be awarded the other #1 seeds.
Stanford, Louisville, Tennessee and West Virginia are the names being bounced around the most. Our Cardinals have built an impressive resume for claiming one to the #1 seeds...just four losses, with three of them to the #1 team in the land.
Tennessee won the SEC Tournament and will merit consideration. Although they've lost a few more games than the Cards...they finished the season strong and have a stronger RPI than Louisville does.
Stanford was considered the front runner for one of the #1 seeds until their loss in the PAC tournament. They still look to be the best WBB team west of the Mississippi River to most...maybe something Kim Mulkey and Baylor would probably argue.
West Virginia has fared well in the BIG 12 and could also get a look. Losing to Baylor in the tournament final, though...could hinder their chances at grabbing a #1 seed.
My thought? For #1 seeds, Louisville, UConn, Notre Dame and Stanford. Tennessee fans will howl about that...but send them to play in the Louisville regional and let them prove that they're better.
Does seeding really matter? The Cards were second best in the nation last year and weren't a #1 or #2 seed. UK has seemed to find their stride again and gets to play their first two at home. Will they end up in the Louisville regional?
UNC, Duke, Creighton, South Carolina...how will it all end up? We'll know on Selection Monday. Seems years away...
What's your take on the Cards? Who will the top four seeds be? And, can Notre Dame defeat the Huskies? Give us your thoughts in the comments section.